Wilfried Zaha Has to Rediscover Old Form if Crystal Palace Want to Avoid Relegation

​Coming into the game as the lowest-scoring team in the Premier League, the emphasis was understandably on how Crystal Palace's attacking players would be able to cope against Carlo Ancelotti's side.

While Jordan Ayew's impressed with his work ethic throughout the season, there are obvious question marks surrounding the goalscoring ability of Christian Benteke and more notably with Wilfried Zaha.

The Ivory Coast international will be the first to admit that it's been a poor season by his standards. He'd still scored three and set up another four before kick-off, but Zaha has been a shadow of the player who was directly involved in 20 goals last season.

Wilfried Zaha,Seamus Coleman

It's not just Zaha's goals drying up which is costing Crystal Palace either. When he's short on confidence, the 27-year-old often hangs onto the ball for far too long in dangerous areas and gets dispossessed - which happened just a few seconds before Everton's opener.

Zaha isn't the only one that's responsible, that much is certain. For all of Ayew's ability as a team player and as much as Benteke is difficult for defenders to play against, Crystal Palace don't have any sort of spark in the final third.

It makes for tough viewing for neutrals and even tougher viewing for anyone with a vested interest in Crystal Palace.

Roy Hodgson's side might be six points above the relegation zone, but take Zaha out of the starting lineup and it's difficult to see where the Eagles will be able to pick up any points in the remaining 15 games this season.

Even Norwich City - they're still on 18 points, sitting at the bottom of the table - can look towards Teemu Pukki or Todd Cantwell to inspire them on any given matchday. Maybe Emi Buendía can be in that discussion too.

For Crystal Palace, Zaha isn't their ace of spades. He's the only card Hodgson has to play.

It's not just Zaha's impact on the whole game which is proving crucial to Crystal Palace's form either. When the Eagles were on top against Everton at the start of the second half, Richarlison produced a goal from nowhere which settled things down and was the catalyst for their win.

The Brazilian wasn't involved throughout the match. In fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking Richarlison was on the bench based off the first half alone. But he didn't need to be involved throughout, because the 22-year-old stepped up when in mattered.

Wilfried Zaha

And that, more than anything else, could provide the template which will get the best back out of Zaha at Crystal Palace. 

Rather than trying to make something happen every time Crystal Palace have possession - inevitably leading to Zaha becoming frustrated and a weak link in their side - the club's talisman needs to pace himself to really make an impact when it matters. 

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Source : 90min